If you’re cruising the Mediterranean in the middle of summer and have enjoyed a busy day exploring the sights and scenery of these spectacular and beautiful historic towns, then there’s really only one way to cool off, and that’s with a refreshing beer.
But come on, you’re on holiday, you’re in a foreign land, forget about Carling Newcastle Brown, or Boddingtons – be adventurous and try a local brew!
Now here’s a question you might be asking yourself – just how good are the Mediterranean countries at brewing their own beers? Yes, we’re used to drinking Belgian, Danish and even beers from Northern France, but can the Med hold its own in the beer rankings? Actually, it can! Here are some of the best authentic and popular Mediterranean beers you’ll come across when cruising this wonderful part of the world:
Photo Credit: Martin Lowe
Peroni is Italy’s best loved beer and despite the brewing company having been founded in Vigevano in Northern Italy, today it’s brewed right in the heart of Rome. Peroni is known for its pale colour, its corn-like aromas, and its bitter finish with a bit of a spicy kick afterwards. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tour the Peroni factory if you’re taking a day trip into Rome from nearby Livorno, but you can do the next best thing – visit the old factory. The Museum of Contemporary Art currently resides within the old Peroni factory, which was an active brewery until 1971. While the interior has been renovated, you’ll still see remnants of the twin factory units, and the industrial-style architecture is a dead giveaway.
Also Try: Italy has a huge craft beer scene that is well worth exploring. Almond 22 from the Abruzzo region is perhaps the closest option to an Eastern European honey beer that you’ll find in the Mediterranean – it’s sweet, soft, and its aroma is amazing.
Photo Credit: Sean Thomas
When you arrive into Valletta, Malta, you’ll see signs advertising Cisk around every corner – it’s certainly the beer of choice in Malta and it’s a little bit different to any other beer you’ll sample when taking a Mediterranean Cruise. Back when Malta first starting brewing its own beers (and back when the brewery was still known by its original name – the Malta Export Brewery), they hadn’t really found their own unique style, so these Maltese beers are very heavily influenced by the beers of Munich, with a crisp and refreshing taste and simple flavours. One thing to remember is that Cisk is actually pronounced ‘chisk’, so if you’ve been getting blank stares from the bartender, then that’s why!
Also Try: Have you got a sweet tooth? Then you can’t miss out on Farson’s Lacto Stout. It’s brewed by the same company that produce Cisk, yet it’s blended with milk to give a very sweet and creamy taste that’s almost like chocolate and caramel rolled into one.
Photo Credit: M Bell
Estrella Damm, Spain
Estrella Damm is popular within the UK, but there’s nothing better than enjoying one in Barcelona, the city it was originally brewed. It’s believed to be one of the oldest beers originating from Spain, and the factory is one of the few remaining breweries in the country. Despite being heavily carbonated, this beer is super smooth in the taste, making it very easy to drink (and if you’re not careful, drink too much!). If you’re interested in learning more about Estrella Damm there are tours of the old factory every Wednesday, which includes access to a small museum dedicated to Spanish beers.
Also Try: Moritz, another beer brewed right here in the centre of Barcelona that has a sort of grainy taste and aroma. The Moritz factory is also open to visitors and includes tastings, a bar and tapas restaurant, and even a gift shop.
Photo Credit: Laura Fernández
Yeast Coast, Monaco
Monaco might not seem like it has a busy and bustling brewing industry – and you’re right – but what it does have is a single microbrewery that serves up three incredible craft beers, along with some special seasonal offerings throughout the year (including a green-tinted beer for St Patrick’s Day!). Yeast Coast is the mildest of the beers in terms of alcohol content, but it’s also the most flavourful. It could be described as a little bit spicy, and that’s due to a couple of unusual ingredients – bitter orange peel and coriander. You can grab a stein of this at the Brasserie de Monaco microbrewery that holds an amazing location right in the port and overlooking the Grand Prix racetrack.
Also Try: For something a bit more intense, try Brasserie de Monaco’s strongest craft beer – Redfox. At 5.7 percent, it’s much stronger yet still has a very soft taste. It gets its name from the red colour created by using caramelised malt.